How do people find content? That's what Outbrain wanted to know, so in the first quarter of this year they conducted a study to find out. The results of the study included some interesting surprises. 

While social media is a growing source of traffic for content providers, it does not drive the most engaged reader to sites, according to the survey. In fact, social media traffic has the highest tendency to bounce. Of the social media sites driving traffic, the study found that Facebook delivers a more diverse audience than Twitter. 

What are people driving traffic to content sites through social media sharing? The highest content shared by far was news, followed by entertainment. There is a big drop off from those types of content to the also-rans - lifestyle, technology, business and sports. 

So where does the most "engaged" traffic come from? Naturally, people who are already on a content site are most likely to remain engaged. Traffic from other content sites show the highest levels of engagement for outside traffic. This traffic also has the lowest bounce rates. This form of traffic also provides the highest amount of "hyper-engaged" traffic (readers who view five or more pages per session.) 

Surprisingly, search engines provide higher engagement than social media as well. Search engine traffic produces more "average page views per session" than all other traffic sources and has low bounce rates, second only to other content sites. This source of readers also delivers a higher than average amount of "hyper-engaged" readership.